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Title:The Implications of The Theory of Aesthetic Transaction for Introductory Undergraduate Courses in Literature
Author(s):Stiffler, Beth Mackey
Department / Program:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Secondary
Abstract:Today, when colleges and universities are caught in a crisis in culture, faculty search for solutions in order to carry out one task of higher education, that of providing a liberal education for all students. A time-honored manner to bring this about is to place emphasis upon the raising of human consciousness through attention to language and literature.
This study proposes an introductory course in literature for beinning university students in part to fulfill the basic curriculum requirement in the Humanities, concentrating upon bringing literature and composition together into a synoptic course which also looks closely at the student's emotional as well as intellectual development. Although the course involves all students, it gives special consideration to those students who, because of previously unsuccessful attempts at literature and writing, have learned to avoid such encounters.
The emphasis in the study is upon the intuitive approach to teaching and upon the importance of the student's response.
The major thrust of the study is away from the traditional, historical approach to reading and writing and toward the intuitive. Chapter II, "The Reader," places an emphasis upon the reader, the text, and the transaction or that which happens between them. The reader's primary subject matter includes feelings, sensations, images, and ideas that he weaves between himself and the text. Such emphasis suggests the importance of the student's engagement and the instructor's role in assisting the student to respond freely and openly. Chapter II, "The Response," shows how a teacher can make the student aware of the nature of his response and the reasons behind it, thus seeking to involve him further. Whatever responses are made lead to encouragement in expansion by the teacher. Elaboration moves the student to depend more and more upon knowledge of facts, terms, and generalizations and what he knows of literary texts. In Chapter IV, "The Question," a review of research on questioning shows a teacher how to help a student pose questions about his responses. He tests his responses by listening to a range of critical voices to help him strengthen, clarify, discard, and perhaps crystallize his thinking. Writing his evaluation is a valuable experience in expressing his reaction to the work. From the expanded responses, the student will move to reading and generating more questions about futher texts, leading him to a greater awareness of successive encounters with books.
Assisting the student to rely upon his own powers is the work of the instructor. No longer is it necessary to tell the student what he should find in the trasaction he makes with the book nor how he should plan and prepare his written work. By recognizing that the content of literary study is any response to a work of literature, the teacher can assist the student in coming to an understanding of himself. As he works to analyze his response, he will become more confident of his own intellectual growth which may lead him to further pursuit of literature, writing, and other fields of study. His engagement will steer him to perception, interpretation, and evaluation, and all the other skills will follow. The instructior will find that a major benefit of this approach is more time to work with the student in the evaluation of his response.
Issue Date:1980
Description:163 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1980.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8108677
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-12
Date Deposited:1980

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